Study Guide

Mortal Engines Airships

By Philip Reeve


Full of Hot Air

The swift, mobile airships are foils, the polar opposites of the heavy, cumbersome traction cities that dominate the planet. As such, they're the vehicles of choice for the opposition: the Anti-Tractionists who oppose Municipal Darwinism at every turn.

Aviators and aviatrixes, like Anna Fang, are believed to lead glamorous lives by people like Tom, who dream of becoming air pirates. While not exactly carefree, the air pirates do seem to live without one anxiety plaguing those living in the traction cities: the fear of being devoured on a daily basis. The air pirates don't seem to be wanting for resources, nor do they seem to need to hunt on a daily basis. Why doesn't everyone live like this?